The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its Consumer Protection Group (CPG), attended the 23rd ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection Meeting and Related Meetings, including the 6th Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting for the ASEAN- German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the 2nd Consultation on the Consumer Affairs Program (CAP) of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), from November 22-25, 2021.
The ACCP serves as the focal point for the implementation and monitoring of regional consumer protection arrangements and mechanisms in the ASEAN Economic Community. ASEAN Member States (AMS) include Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The meetings focused on reviewing completed and ongoing activities under the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2016-2025 before the end of the year. Updates on the progress of the ACCP 2021 key deliverables, such as the development of the ASEAN Sustainable Consumption Toolkit, online interactive and distance-learning tools, and the ASEAN Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Guidelines, and bilateral cooperation for technical assistance in cyberspace monitoring and product recall, were among them.
Updates on recent developments in each AMS’s consumer protection laws, as well as consumer protection authorities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, were also discussed. Further, updates on the Voluntary Peer Review Process were presented, including the recently concluded National Conference for the Philippines’ External Peer Review on Consumer Protection, at which the Philippines expressed its intent to be one of the Peer reviewing countries for the next AMS to go through the process.
“The Philippines, in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Regional Consultants will continue working to complete the remaining deliverables for the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption project. We will keep working on the advocacy materials and the AVP, and we hope to launch the SCT toolkit officially in the first quarter of 2022,” said DTI-CPG Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo.
Additionally, Assistant Secretary Ann Claire C. Cabochan and CPAB Director M. Marcus N. Valdez II expressed the Philippines’ continued support and active participation in the ACCP’s future initiatives to strengthen cooperation and share experiences and best practices, particularly in the area of consumer protection.
The Philippines participated in these meetings to strengthen international relations with the other ASEAN Member States, continue bilateral cooperation with stakeholders such as the GIZ and AANZFTA signatories for programs and technical assistance they can provide, and lastly, to improve existing laws and regulations related to all consumer protection issues in the country as well as in the ASEAN Region, all of which are for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the rights of all Filipino consumers.
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